Ten Reasons to Get High About Marijuana in 2009

By Norman Kent, Esq. , NORML Board Member

Okay, it is only February 1st, and more people this year have already died from peanut butter than pot.
Seriously, when you think about what has crossed the pages of our nation’s conscience in the past month, you have to wonder why we are all not getting high.
With thanks to Michael Phelps, I have ten good reasons to believe drug law reform will ‘take’ this year. Here is why.
Number One: The President
First of all, we elected a President who has admitted inhaling, and whose half brother just got arrested in Kenya for possession of marijuana. Growing up in urban Chicago, and having come from Hawaii, home of ‘Maui Waui,’ we have a man in the oval office that has an herbal background.
I am therefore not intimidated that, on his third day in office, while he was working on a nationwide economic stimulus package, some renegade prosecutors raided a medical dispensary in California. Those ugly efforts will cease soon enough. I am encouraged by President Obama’s prior public statements that such raids are counterproductive and provide illusory answers to real problems.
Number Two: The Medicine
Just as I was exploring the placement of my mom into an assisted living facility for early stage Alzheimer’s patients, I see a study released by Ohio State University this month. The research is indicating that marijuana has some potential capacity to reduce brain inflammation, which plays a role in Alzheimer’s. Mom, those brownies might taste differently next week.
While evidence showing the benefits of marijuana in multiple sclerosis cases has been advancing significantly, work in Alzheimer’s disease is still in its infancy. Still, another recent study performed at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, inhibits the formation of a brain plaque that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Number Three: The Politics
If you light up a joint while walking down High Street in Medford, Massachusetts, not much is likely to happen to you. As of Jan. 2, Massachusetts became one of 12 states that have decriminalized marijuana possession to some extent. The new civil penalties for possession of less than 1 ounce include a $100 fine and forfeiture of one’s stash for those over 18 years of age. Minors will receive the same fine and be required to attend drug education classes.
In city after city, and state after state, once silent minorities are becoming vocal majorities and voting to enact legislation freeing marijuana from unjust law enforcement. When given the chance, we are winning the war against prohibition. Legislators in Michigan, Connecticut and even Florida are starting to re-introduce bills to lower penalties for pot. The whirlwind is commencing; just ask anyone in a dorm room within a wave of the White House after the inauguration.
Number Four: The Media
Marijuana has gone mainstream. Media outlets are no longer hiding in the shadows afraid to produce honest reports about the culture of marijuana. We are less likely to see commercials of pot smokers having their brains grilled in a frying pan. We are more likely to view legitimate programming which produces truths rather than trash about your stash.
One such report was featured on NBC news last week, a snippet of an hour long production on MSNBC entitled ‘Marijuana, Inc.’ Focusing more on economics then the sociology of pot, the well-supported report inescapably concluded that marijuana commerce is here to stay and unlikely to change. As even the NY Daily News said, “When it comes to marijuana, a whole lot of people voted some time ago to just say yes.” Ask the cast of the award winning Showtime series, ‘Weeds,’ which captures a growing American spirit.
Number Five: The Public
Even the Department of Health has said that 95 million Americans have over the age of 21 have tried marijuana at least once. Everyone except Bill Clinton has inhaled. The anti drug warriors have a hard time explaining to the average adult in the 21st century that millions of Americans are wrong when they light up every day.
It is normal to smoke pot. The vast amount of marijuana users today are parents choosing to calm down instead of liquor up, not just kids, looking to get high after class. Of course, they are too, adults treating arthritis, patients using it for multiple sclerosis, or people with HIV fighting a wasting syndrome. Pot smokers cross ethnic, sociological, and economic boundaries.
Number Six: The Celebrities
There is a lot of reason to hate the celebrity culture, paparazzi, and people who get their daily pulp from finding out where Brittany Spears went shopping. As more media types get busted with pot, the less newsworthy it becomes. The public could care less. An arrest for pot is not a career-ending event. As I finish this piece and send it off for distribution, I am watching Snoop Doggy Dogg being interviewed on ESPN for the NFL Countdown to the Super Bowl. It does not seem to have hurt him. And guess what Michael Phelps got caught doing this weekend? Toking off a bong!
Macauley Culkin, Bud Bundy, Willie Nelson, Art Garfunkel, and Al Gore’s son also make the High Subscription List. So do Allen Iverson, Matthew McConaughey, Whitney Houston, Oliver Stone, and even Queen Latifah. All have posted bail for pot. They are not doing too badly for themselves. Go visit Celebstoner for more prime examples of the intersection of celebrity and cannabis.
Number Seven: The Growers
In speaking out against rescheduling marijuana so as to remove it from its classification as dangerous, the most significant point that the Office of Drug Control Policy makes is that today’s weed ‘is not your grandfather’s pot.’
Exactly! It is not, but they miss the mark when they say today’s pot is ‘stronger.’
Today’s pot is also cleaner, safer, and healthier to consume. From vaporizers to hydroponic labs, the marijuana grown and consumed today is more precisely cultivated, carefully processed, and lovingly manicured then the mold-encased, dried-out weed we grew up on decades ago. That pot was often delivered to Americans from overseas after being buried in the dark, musky cargo hulls of ships for weeks at a time.
Now that Americans grow our own marijuana at home, we do not hear stories on a daily basis about people smoking rat poison or buying oregano. We have returned to the roots of our forefathers, lest we forget that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all grew hemp. They did not turn out too bad, either. Today’s pot growers are the new revolutionary farmers.

Number Eight: The Police and Jails

Sadly, the criminal justice system in America is teeming with serious crimes and violence against Americans. A Department of Homeland Security must necessarily focus on threats from abroad. From drive-by shootings to corporate white collar crime, the jails in our country are simply not capable of housing all those who should arguably be locked up. So law enforcement has to prioritize. Building jails and keeping people in prisons costs more money than communities can afford. Pot smokers are the residual beneficiaries.
The necessities of twenty first century law enforcement have reduced pot to secondary priorities. More and more cities are encouraging cops to treat simple pot possession as a civil traffic infraction and just write a ticket. As those progressive initiatives take hold, pot prosecutions will diminish and pot users will be treated more fairly.
Number Nine: The Non Profits
The wealth of non profit organizations advocating drug law reform is growing exponentially. We are not just NORML anymore. Benefactors like Peter Lewis and George Soros have underwritten drug reform movements the way Hugh Hefner once helped NORML. The Marijuana Policy Project, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are just a small sampling of honorable groups fighting to change the public perception in the way drug consumers are viewed and treated. If you enhance their efforts today, there is less of a chance that you will be bonding yourself or your child out of jail tomorrow.
Number Ten: The Internet
There is no better way to end this column then to point towards the awesome power of networking to generate partnerships for the common good. Overnight, hundreds of thousands of reformers can be linked for a specific goal, a targeted protest, or unified voice to speak out for or against a new law or proposed regulation.
The NORML blog and podcast draws hundreds of thousands of Americans daily who would otherwise never be reached but for the arm of the ‘Net. Stopthedrugwar.org, Marijuananews.com, and cannabisnews.com are amongst the target specific Internet resources drug law reformers can access instantly. There are too many more to mention.
Finally, the Internet has spawned awesome networking groups such as Facebook and MySpace, where activists, organizers, and reformers can synthesize their partnerships and causes. And there is always something new unfolding, like Twitter, which I have not figured out, but I know is catching on.
It’s Up to Us!
For too many years, pot smokers have been political prisoners, captive to repressive government and a rolling tide. 2009 represents a renewed opportunity to make the waters of justice run our way again.
*This was originally published at KentVent.com

0 thoughts

  1. 11. The economy.
    12. Unemployment is at an all time “high.” If it were legalized, think of how many jobs will be created.
    13. Crime rate would plummet, as that underground market segment would disappear.
    14. The post-Reefer Madness generation is taking over.
    15. Many antiquated theories went out the window with the Michael Phelps photo. Mikey likes it! Hey Mikey!
    16. No one has produced any proof of anyone ODing on Cannabis.
    17. 2/4/09: philly.com voted 71% (at last count) overwhelmingly supporting the legalization and regulation; a smaller % support decriminalization.
    18. Otherwise law-abiding citizens lives won’t be upended if caught in possession. (I had a car stolen by Customs in 1989 for 1.3 grams (+ 5 hours of jail), yet Bernie Madoff is not in jail??? And Tommy Chong was, for manufacturing bongs???
    19. It’s 2009 and
    20. The cultural war against Cannabis has FAILED miserably. Case closed….

  2. Hello, I am in love with the west coast reform. Just finished watching Super high me. Great movie. OMG man, if only it was like that in florida arg… However, I completely cringe at the usage of the word, “HIGH” with cannabis use. It makes any cannabis user look like they are hugging a freakin pipe man. I would beg my bro for a little herb to help with my depression, and only inhale maybe once or twice a day. Now the herb has run out and … Its sad man. Tried all antidepressants with terrible side effects litterally bad stuff almost close to seizure shit. Yet i cant smoke herb just to fell good or even have 1 or 2 hits god damnit. I had problems with depression and alcohol abuse. But in my great state of florida, i cannot smoke the herb. Im a criminal if i use it. Please help in florida with marijuana laws. We need help here.

  3. we can do this…. Lets all work together it is EVERYWHERE let everyone quit being so afraid and stand up for what is right…..we could come out of our economic depression if our government wasnt so afraid of this beautiful natural medicine and sooo much more..educate..

  4. Oh NORML,
    You need to be realistic here. I know you want to be optimistic. Trust me, we are all happy that Bush is out of office. But Obama is just another figure head who said a lot of things to please a lot of people.
    Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff sends a powerful message to us. Just look at the norml article on him: http://blog.norml.org/tag/rahm-emanuel/
    NORML, it is time to start being realistic. Obama lied! He cares about war and about money, not marijuana reform. Please start writing more about Ron Paul, the only mainstream politician who REALLY believes in personal freedom. Please check out http://www.campaignforliberty.com for more info.

  5. Interesting that the 3 groups with the most to loose by legalizing pot:
    1) The alcohol industry
    2) Organized Crime
    3) The prison industry
    What keeps it illegal? — Fear

  6. Excellent piece with a possible side-effect: euphoria… My one quibble is the adjective “honorable” applied to MPP. On three occasions they have been dishonorable —unethical—  in their dealings with me… Sometimes I find myself drafting a letter to Peter Lewis in my head (the insurance magnate who backs MPP) to tell him how they treat people… Should I say in a ps that the Progressive ads with the clerk who gets overexcited
    are demeaning? —FG

  7. Marijuana should be removed from ANY narcotics list and treated like any other farm grown produce. I grew up on a farm and worked as a “peanut grader” several seasons. Peanut potency was not an issue — size, color, absence of mold or other foreign matter,and being able to trace said peanut back to the grower are the issues with grading peanuts and other produce. President Obama and Congress should include money in the stimulus package for more workers in the fields so to speak. Bail out for big business? Bale in for the people!

  8. You need to extend this list to include…
    11. DEA seems to be using a more humane approach in the form of, “medical compassion busts”. Shortly after Obama was in office, medical marijuana related busts seem to have changed into, “Grab N Go”, busts. Leaving the federal offenders standing where they were found, but removing all associated marijuana related items. This turn of actions, seeming to stem from public and presidential response to the actions previously taken on the conflicting local laws for compassionate use.

  9. Lies,Lies,Lies, Thats all the media seems to be able to do when it comes to speaking about Mike Phelp’s or any other pot related issue.When a reporter asked Mike what he was thinking when he lit up,and he response was I don’t know what I was thinking.Bullcrap. He was thinking about getting HIGH, & having a good time. That;s the TRUTH, and American’s no longer have the right to speak truth, because it is not politically. correct.I’m 57 yrs. old & no longer able to smoke, because it would put my employer in a perfect position to terminate me,even though I’m a dedicated hard working family man. paying taxes.END PROHIBITION

  10. Someone is smoking something.
    Former President Obama is going to continue the war in Afghanistan so he is himself a fascist murderer war criminal.
    You think he is going to do something abut weed ? not a chance. I bet more money will go into the DEA. and 950,000 more pot arrests in 2009. violance will increase.

  11. #60 Sheila Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 2:53 pm
    Marijuana should be removed from ANY narcotics list and treated like any other farm grown produce. I grew up on a farm and worked as a “peanut grader” several seasons. Peanut potency was not an issue — size, color, absence of mold or other foreign matter,and being able to trace said peanut back to the grower are the issues with grading peanuts and other produce. President Obama and Congress should include money in the stimulus package for more workers in the fields so to speak. Bail out for big business? Bale in for the people!
    –>KUDOS Sheila!
    I agree,
    Cannabis SHOULD be removed from any ‘narcotics’ list and treated as ANY OTHER agricultural product.
    — The ONLY role which government ought to play in ‘regulating’ it, are those which you mentioned above, and those of:
    (1) Ensuring product-quality & purity,
    (Freshness of product, (With applicable expirys / ‘use-by’ dates, like ANY OTHER agricultural-product)).
    (2)Properly grown and stored,
    (NOT contaminated by industrial chemicals, toxic-metals, pesticides, nor by pathogenic fungi / bacteria).
    (3)GENUINESS of said-same agricultural product,
    if packaged and sold:
    (Truthfulness in labeling, ACCURATE REPRESENTATION of plant genus / species, of essential-oil ‘fractions’ they may contain,
    (THC, Cannabidiol,etc), of any specific cultivar / species, i.e. Sativa, Indica, etc, alkaloid-fraction listings of applicable plants-species containing alkaloids, etc.).
    (4)Standardization of agri-product EXTRACTS:
    This is not as impossible as plant-medicine foes, BIG PHARMA and drug-warriors / worriers make it sound:
    There are SPECIFIC procedures in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, (USP), for producing ‘standardized-extracts’ from ANY plant.
    SEE turn of century, (1900’s), web-reference for more info:
    (5) ACCURATE REPRESENTATION of any specific agricultural-product’s nutritional-value, allergenic-properties, (having the capacity to induce allergic-reactions in certain individuals), cross-reactions with other foods / agricultural-based medicines.
    (But NEVER as a basis for a ‘blanket’ prohibition against a plant-species nor agricultural-product!)
    DO WE OUTLAW walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews or beans BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN
    PHENYLALANINE, an amino-acid which some people are unable to metabolize properly?

  12. BRAVO !!!!!
    Let’s hear it for 2009. President Obama, keep your promises concerning state medical marijuana providers.

  13. Quiet down about how we cross ethnic, sociological, and economic boundaries–that’s the one thing opposition lawmakers could still rally around!

  14. Funny how KELLOGG’s would rather support DRUNK drivers instead of HIGH divers…H-hmmmmm?? And, dude-man!! The eleventh reason should be a lil’ buddy of mine called “SOuR DiesEL”(best reefer I ever toked that wasn’t purple). Maybe manners will help—Mr. Obama; please legalize the Boo-Dah buds. Maybe we need a stimlate plan instead of stimu-less……?

  15. Ya know guys(I am referring to those bastards in congress), the sooner ya’ll legalize pot–the sooner I can go get my dream job as a professional Joint roller. Then I won’t hafta work deadend jobs I hate; therefore placing me in a happier, more satifying frame of mind day 2 day. And I am CERTAIN there are thousands more(like myself) eager to pioneer the frontier of the Cannabis Industry….*sigh*..O’ the jobs(not 2 mention tax revenue) upon jobs that could be created. And I’d imagine those positions would be filled faster than the nxt Zong rip!!! Then again, I’m just an average working American who lives below the poverty line…..what do I know about possible economic solutions/help???

  16. Excellent article. I always get into arguments with people about Cannabis, and you just restated everything i have ever said!!! Hopefully they legalize Marijuana. We have to keep fighting.

  17. even if it does happen wont all the drug dealers go poor? i mean it would be awesome to walk down the road see a pig and light up a blunt whooo hooo what now pigs!!!

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